Searching for Hope

My mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2002. She is nearing the 10 year mark and is on her third recurrence. Due to an allergic reaction, she can no longer take carboplatin, which worked the first two times.

For the last two years, she has had a number of different treatments, including Avastin and radiation. They all seemed to slow it down, but nothing knocked it out (other than radiation, the side effects caused her to have to stop each chemo). She now has multiple nodules in her lungs, and has been sent home on hospice. The last 3 Dr. visits have had inconsistent results. Her oncologist said a month ago that she likely had 6 months, and that any chemo would likely only prolong life another 3-6 at most, and may not be worth the side effects. The next visit, she seemed to encourage chemo (hexalin, etoposide, or cysplatin). Then, her pulmonary doctor said things were basically hopeless, and we're looking at 3 months at best.

Does anyone have experience with ovarian cancer metastasizing in the lungs? We've been told before that her cancer is a slow growing cancer. Yet since hearing this news, her condition seems to be deteriorating rapidly. She's coughing a lot and is having a lot of pain around her side and back. Is there any other hope out there, maybe a study or something that we are unaware of. She wants to fight it, but not if it means ruining all of the time she has left.

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Has she tried having carbo given very slowly over a day every few weeks?

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Cisplatin is another platinum based drug like carbo and she might be able to use that. Platinum drugs control cancer the best if it still works for her.

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I am allegic to carbo also, but just had it again for a recurrence. Boston hospitals call it desensitization. You are given pre-meds and the carbo is given over 6-8 hrs. I was hospitilized overnight and watched carefully. I am in remission again,but can still have carbo with this protocol. I am not sure if this is an option for your Mom, but it is definitely worth a discussion with her Doctors.

Hugs and prayers to you all,

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Anthony, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Every time I read messages from the children of cancer patients, it breaks my heart, because I know that could be my own child's post, at some point. Ten years is a long time to survive recurrent, Stage IV OC. Your mom is extraordinarily strong, and I don't blame either of you for wanting to continue the fight.

Have you looked into a second opinion? Even a third opinion is not out of line, but I wouldn't go beyond that, if it were me. Quality of life is everything. If your mom is in pain or can't breathe comfortably, those things need to be addressed, before anything else. Then, if there is a chemo that might extend her life, she needs to be the one to decide if she wants to try it or not. If she starts the treatment and it has terrible side effects, she can always stop.

Her doctors can treat her symptoms, even if she elects not to go into Hospice, and they should. And Hospice is not a permanent commitment. If she elects for Hospice care, she can always drop out after she gets the pain etc under control and go back into treatment. It doesn't have to be an either/or choice.

Please don't stop giving us updates. We are always here for you, no matter what.


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Thanks for the replies and information. Cisplatin is one of the choices that she has now, but we've heard that the side effects are quite harsh. She's leaning towards etoposide or hexalen. She is currently receiving care through hospice, and will hopefully get strong enough again to try chemo. But that's ultimately her decision, of course. We are looking into getting another opinion as well.

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So sorry about your mom and I hope that you will find something that works for her. Have you considered INTEGRATING alternatives to her treatment? I am not talking about replacing conventional treatment, but working with a knowledgeable naturopath or nutritionist. There is a great discussion going on with the title "2 Years NED plus integrative options" that you should check out. Alternatives can also help with the side effects of chemo and help tolerate them better, even enhance chemo in some cases, but you need the guidance of a professional.

Don't give up hope.

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